What is Korfball?

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Name of the game
Korfball is a game for everyone. Men and women of all ages can play. Korfball is played on every continent, with the exception of the Antarctic. Korfball can be played indoors, outdoors on a court, on grass and in the sea! And you don’t need expensive equipment to play the game. The first thing you need is a pitch (court), divided into two halves called zones. Add two korfball posts (3.5m, shorter for the young), two bright yellow baskets, one ball and two teams of eight players: two men and two women of each team in each zone (attack and defence). With one referee the game is ready to start.

The aim of the game
Outdoor KorfballThe game is fairly simple. You score when you throw the ball through the other team’s basket. After two goals the teams change zones: the defenders become attackers and attackers defenders. At half-time the teams change sides. As long as you keep its philosophy in mind, all rules turn out to be straightforward.
What, then, is its philosophy? First and foremost, korfball is a team sport. Individual class is essential but there is no room for individual play. Belonging to a team means teamwork; running with the ball or dribbling is not allowed. If you receive the ball while running, stop and pass, preferably to a member of your team! Second, korfball is a mixed sport. Men and women play side by side. But while women are equal in the tactics of the game, while playing it’s man to man only. One man may guard one man and one woman may guard one woman. So it’s not two against one and a woman may not defend a man nor may a man defend a woman. Third, korfball is a tactical game. Each party tries to win by scoring more goals using tactical skills of the team as a whole. The rules follow this adagio and prevent physical strength from dominating the game. That means that physical contact is undesired. Blocking, tackling and holding your opponent are not allowed in korfball. The same goes for kicking the ball or hitting it with your fists. Remember, skills are important, not muscles. And while we’re at it, keep your hands off the korfball post: scoring is difficult enough without someone pushing the post. Now what else makes this game different? First, each team must have four women and four men, single sex teams are not allowed. Second, do not attempt to score when defended. That occurs when the defender is closer to the basket and is facing his/her opponent, and is at arms length, and is attempting to block the ball.

The Basic Rules
Outdoor KorfballPassing and movement form the basis of the game with attackers using changes of speed and direction, combined with team tactics, to try to lose their defenders in order to create a shooting chance. This is not easy because an attacker is not allowed to shoot if the defender is within arms’ length and nearer to the post. Any player in the attacking zone may score. Kicking, punching and running with the ball are forbidden and phyisical contact is limited. Players may only mark a player of the same sex. Apart from playing within one half of the field there are no set positions and players need to have all round skills since whenever two goals are scored in the match the players change zones (i.e. those who were attacking now become defenders and vice versa).